Chris Thile plays Bach – Sonatas and Partitas

Chris Thile has just released his new CD with the first part of the Sonatas and Partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach. I have not bought the CD yet, but I have found many new videos with Chris Thile playing pieces from this CD.

Recordings of the Presto from the Sonata No. 1 in G minor have appeared for some time on youtube, but now there’s a complete set of videos with a great recording of the entire Sonata (see my playlist). There are videos with some movements of the other two works that have been recorded.

I have listened to the preview of the tracks on the Amazon website, and I have the impression that the noise from the pick is more present on the recording than on the live videos – so maybe the sound of the videos is even better that the CD. I will check this again when I have the CD available.

Anyway – for me Chris Thile is the first mandolin player who really stands above those pieces,  he really can form the music and – according to the interviews – he has has really thought indepth about how to play this music, about the tempi and the dynamics. I have read some comments from others who do not like Thiles interpretation (maybe they are strongly annoyed by the pick noise?)  but for me this is the best interpretation of the Sonatas and Partitas by J. S. Bach that I have heard so far.

I have also collected some of the interviews with Chris Thile about his new CD below, it’s really interesting to learn about the ideas that have led to this interpretation.

Chris Thile’s is not the first who made a recording of the Sonatas & Partitas. The Bach Sonatas and Partitas are very often played by guitarists, and also many of the great mandolin players have recorded the suites or at least movements from this great work.

Neil Gladd has recorded the Partita in d minor, BWV 1004, in 1984 (I should listen to this recording again some time…. reinstall the record player…or digitize the recording)

Shmuel Elbaz has recorded the Sonatas & Partitas in 2005, his CD is available from cdbaby (see below).

Also the German Frank Scheuerle has recorded a Bach CD (Bach … auf der Mandoline) which includes the Sonata 1 in g-Minor (BWV 1001) and the suites in c-Minor (BWV 1011) and in  G-Major (BWV 1007) and from the Six Suites for violoncello.

Playlist Chris Thile – Bach

Additional Information

New York Times:

Bach in a String Concert, Sharing a Program With Bluegrass – Chris Thile on Mandolin at Zankel Hall

Review Paste Magazine:

Interview PBS News Hour:



Mandolincafe: Chris Thile on Recording Bach – Part I

Review in German Newspaper (German):

Review (German):,-Vol.-1-91095

Playlist – Complete concert:

Chris Thile live at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, Oregon on 10/2/2013

Addtional Information

J.S.Bach Sonatas And Partitas For Violin Solo by Shmuel Elbaz – Mandolin Artist

see also:

Website Frank Scheuerle:

Website Neil Gladd:

More posts in my blog about Chris Thile:

Prairie Home Companion:

Amazon partnerlink:

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1

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